Brisbane Roar fought back from a goal down to seal a dramatic 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night.
Jean Carlos Solorzano scored in stoppage time to snatch all three points from a five-goal second half, aided by goals from youngsters James Donachie and Brandon Borrello.
Fresh from winning the AFC Asian Cup with the Socceroos, skipper Matt McKay joined Thomas Broich (ankle) and Michael Theo (wrist) in returning to Roar’s starting eleven while new recruit Jerome Polenz made his club debut.
Broich predictably had a hand in creating an early opportunity while Theo did well to beat away a Nathan Burns effort in the 16th minute.
Borrello and Adam Sarota combined to reach the byline three times during the middle minutes of the half but the visitors’ defence held firm to keep it scoreless at the break.
The second half begun in enterprising fashion with Phoenix’s Roly Bonevacia and striker Solorzano both having close range efforts repelled in the first couple of minutes.
It was Wellington who made the fast start count though as Burns wriggled his way into the area and found Roy Krishna for a smart close-range finish to make it 1-0.
Broich unleashed a fierce drive barely a minute later but it was as provider that the two-time Johnny Warren medallist made his mark.
The German swung in a perfect corner in the 60th minute for defender Donachie to power home a header and level matters at 1-1.
Broich further underlined his worth to the Hyundai A-League Champions in the 76th minute, slipping Borrello in behind to finish tidily and hand the hosts a come-from-behind lead.
More drama followed just five minutes later when substitute Kenny Cunningham closed down Theo’s clearance and equalised, but that wasn’t to be the end of it.
Brisbane Roar interim Head Coach Frans Thijssen’s team pressed on in search of a winner and found it courtesy of Solorzano, who turned home Polenz’s cross and sparked celebrations at Suncorp Stadium.
The Costa Rican’s goal sealed Roar’s first home victory of the season ahead of Friday night’s trip to meet Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.
Thijssen hailed the effort from his players.
“You could see the fighting spirit from the whole team,” he said.
“We knew we were stronger but we had to show it on the field, that’s what I asked from them. This gives them confidence for the rest of the season.”
Brisbane Roar 3 (James DONACHIE 60’, Brandon BORRELLO 76’ Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 90’+2)
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Roy KRISHNA 50’, Kenny CUNNINGHAM 81’)
Hyundai A-League Round 15 2014/15 season
Monday, 2 February at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Alan Milliner
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO, 2. Jerome POLENZ, 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Adam SAROTA, 5. Corey BROWN, 5. Corey BROWN, 12. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (20. Kofi DANNING 90’+4), 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Matt McKAY (c) (8. Steven LUSTICA 66’), 18. Luke BRATTAN, 22. Thomas BROICH, 28. Brandon BORRELLO
Substitutes not used: 14. Daniel BOWLES, 16. Devante CLUT, 21. Jamie YOUNG
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Wellington Phoenix: 1. Glen MOSS, 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 4. Rolieny BONEVACIA (8. Alex RODRIGUEZ 61’), 9. Nathan BURNS (12. Tyler BOYD 86’), 10. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 13. Albert RIERA, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Roy KRISHNA (7. Kenny CUNNINGHAM), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c)
Substitutes not used: 5. Michael BOXALL, 30. Oliver SAIL
Yellow cards: Emmanuel MUSCAT 32’, Louis FENTON 86’
Red cards: Nil